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Industry Showcase: The Artists of Our Community

Step inside the creative minds and works of some of Louisville’s most talented artists representing an array of mediums and majestic masterpieces

 

By Liz Bingham

 

August is the month when we celebrate the arts in our community and the many talented artists who make the arts scene in Louisville a thriving metropolis of inspiration. From sculptors to painters to street artists, Louisville is budding with creatively skilled individuals, some of which we had the opportunity to get to know a little better who are showcased here in this issue. 

Ed Hamilton. Photo by Eddie Davis.

Ed Hamilton

Ed Hamilton was born in 1947 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. He has been married to his wife Bernadette for 54 years and has two children. Ed is a graduate of the Shawnee High School class of 1965 and a graduate of the Louisville School of Art class of 1969. 

Active in his community, Ed spends time teaching workshops and lectures for public schools, colleges and conferences. He has created opportunities for other artists to work and hone their crafts and skills. He has taught sculpture at Jefferson Community College and has been a Morgan Professor of Public Art at the University of Louisville. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a long-time member of St. George’s Episcopal Church. In 2005, Ed was part of the design team of Mahan Rykiel and Associates that won the commission to create the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Downtown Newport News, Virginia. This memorial was dedicated on May 17, 2014, in Newport News, Virginia. In 2009, Ed created the Lincoln Memorial at Waterfront Park, a 12-foot Lincoln and four bas-reliefs that tell Lincoln’s story. Ed also created the Lincoln Memorial at Centre College in 2012 in Danville, Kentucky. It is a heroic 12-foot bronze that stands in front of the library on campus. He received an Honorary Degree from Centre College on May 19, 2013, for this work. 

Ed Hamilton. Photo by Ed Hamilton.

What is your artistic medium? Can you describe your process and if there’s a subject matter you typically depict?

I have been trained in the traditional methods of sculpture, by learning the art of welding, clay modeling, creating armatures for supporting large clay works and mold making. The process of creating a sculpture starts with a drawing, then I create a site model and a working clay model that ultimately will be enlarged to the final bronze for placement in a public space. 

Tell us some background on you and how you became an artist.

I grew up in the heart of the Black business district of Downtown Louisville between Sixth and Seventh Street on Walnut Street, now Muhammad Ali Blvd. My parents owned a tailoring and barbershop called “Your Valet Shop” where I would discover a wealth of materials to get into and make things. Two teachers were instrumental in my becoming an artist, Harriet O’Mally in junior high and my high school teacher Patsy Griffith were the two major influences on my career. 

What is your involvement in the local artistic community?

I give talks to community and school groups from time to time about my works and being an artist. I also invite the community to visit my studio and see the works being created there. You would be surprised by how many people have never been in a sculptor’s studio. We owe many thanks to Louisville Visual Arts Network for creating the open studio tours that have been great for showcasing Louisville’s most talented artists. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

I would tell the young and up-and-coming artists to learn all they can. Visit galleries and museums to learn about other artists outside of your comfort zone and involve yourself within your community so they know that you exist. Become proficient in language art skills. 

What’s the best way for patrons to celebrate the artists in our community?

The best way for patrons to support the arts is to purchase the artists’ works and support them when they have gallery and museum exhibitions. They can also commission the artist to create a work for their home or business. 


 

Karen Boone.

Karen Boone 

 

Photos by Rick Runyon

 

Karen Boone is an artist, nature lover and backpacker creating sustainable paintings using natural pigments. She has hiked in the Grand Canyon, John Muir Trail, Glacier National Park, Utah, the Cascades, Peru, Costa Rica, Canadian Rockies, Switzerland and many others. She makes tiny sketches in the field, then creates larger abstract landscapes in the studio, inspired by nature’s powerful colors and energy. Karen forages for clay and charred wood, crushes it with a pestle and mortar to mix with walnut oil. She stretches her own canvases using organic cotton and plant-based gesso (no rabbit skin or horse hooves). To reflect her minimalist lifestyle, Karen strives to use the least harmful supplies for making art, as well as inspire others to enjoy and protect nature.

Karen graduated from Sacred Heart Academy and the University of Louisville. She has her Master’s degree from the Basel School of Design Switzerland, worked as a graphic designer for Pentagram Design New York and San Francisco, and in Tokyo, Japan. She is a three-time Kentucky Derby Festival poster artist, has had solo painting shows and has been in group exhibitions, with paintings in homes and corporations worldwide. Karen currently lives on 10 peaceful acres in Borden, Indiana with Rick Runyon, her partner in adventure.

What is your artistic medium? Can you describe your process and if there’s a subject matter you typically depict?

I forage for natural pigments such as clays and charred wood, grind them in a pestle and mortar, then mix it with walnut oil. It brings the spirit of the earth into my abstract landscapes, which also have subtle human or organic forms. My paintings have hints of mountains, rocks, waterfalls and glaciers that I see when I am in the wilderness, but I love when someone feels their own nature through my work.

Tell us some background on you and how you became an artist.

When I was a kid, I won a Kellogg’s poster contest, with the prize being $5 a week for a year. I loved my art classes at Sacred Heart Academy, U of L and the Basel School of Design in Switzerland. I have been inspired by galleries, museums and nature while living in New York, San Francisco and Japan. I love to explore, simplify and create, so art is always evolving for me, a source of joy and energy.

What is your involvement in the local artistic community?

I love donating paintings for charities, and I participate in and jury local art shows. I am a three-time Kentucky Derby Festival poster artist. I am a peaceful activist for climate awareness and want to do more with that in the community through group exhibitions, or teaching pigment foraging or hiking classes to get people outside.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

Consider the art supplies you use, if they are harmful to you or the planet. 

What’s the best way for patrons to celebrate the artists in our community?

Buy local art, attend openings, encourage the larger institutions like the Speed Art Museum and KMAC Museum to exhibit living and local artists.


 

John Michael Carter.

John Michael Carter

 

Photos by Chris Newlund

 

John Michael Carter was born in Chicago. He showed an interest in drawing at an early age and began his studies at 15 with his father E. L. Carter, a commercial artist and illustrator. After graduating high school in 1968, he attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. 

In 1970, Carter continued his studies at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. There he studied the major classical schools of drawing and painting with Reynolds Brown, Harry Carmean and Lorser Feitelson. He received his B.F.A. in 1972. Carter has had 44 one-man shows and participated in national exhibitions with Oil Painters of America, The American Impressionist Society and The Portrait Society of America. His wide range of subject matter covers landscapes, still life, figurative painting and portraiture. His portraits include senators, governors, university presidents as well as corporate and civic leaders. 

In addition to Carter’s love of figurative painting, he enjoys the street scenes and landscapes he discovers in his travels here and abroad.

Carter has been a frequent guest instructor at art workshops across the country, including the Scottsdale Artist School since 1990, the Dallas Arts League and the Cincinnati Arts Club. His thorough classical training and experience in drawing and painting give him the technical expertise for superb instruction. 

What is your artistic medium? Can you describe your process and if there’s a subject matter you typically depict?

Primarily I work in oil paint on linen canvas but also work in drawing mediums such as conte crayon, charcoal and monochromatic oil. Most think of me as a portrait and figurative painter, however, I paint all subjects including still life, landscape and marine. I paint most of my figurative subjects from models at my Cherokee Road studio. My portraits include senators, governors and U.S. Supreme court justices from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. My wife Barbara and I travel frequently and on the trips, I paint street scenes and landscapes on location.

Tell us some background on you and how you became an artist.

I grew up in an artistic family. My father was creative director at Zimmer McClasky and Lewis Advertising in Louisville and my mother was a talented painter. I exhibited talent at a young age and they encouraged me to pursue a career as a painter.

What is your involvement in the local artistic community?

I exhibited in Louisville with Framehouse Gallery and later with Fred Merida in the 1970s and early 1980s, my last Louisville exhibition being at Merida Gallery in 1984. Since then, I have exhibited with different galleries across the U.S. Currently, I am on the board of directors of Oil Painters of America, I served as president from 2016-2018. OPA is the largest membership organization of representational painters in North America. The organization puts on four major exhibitions a year at museums, art centers and galleries across the United States.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

I have been fortunate in that I have never had a full-time job other than painting so I will mention some things I feel that helped me. First, I developed my drawing skills by spending literally thousands of hours in life classes. I had no family obligations for the first ten years of my career (the starving years), many hopeful young artists marry, have children and must take on non-art employment in order to pay the bills, many never find their way back to painting. Because of the drawing skills I developed, I was able to paint portraits which allowed me to control my income through the lean times when gallery sales were infrequent. Be patient, painting is a process of self-discovery. I painted for 20 years before I developed my individual voice or style that became recognizable to galleries and collectors.

What’s the best way for patrons to celebrate the artists in our community?

Those who paint need collectors in order to keep growing as artists. For those who don’t paint but appreciate art, don’t be afraid to dive into collecting. It takes time to develop a sophisticated eye, but once that begins to develop, the act of collecting can become a wonderful and satisfying experience. 


 

Braylyn Stewart A.K.A. Resko

 

Photos by BK Photography

 

Braylyn Stewart, also known as Resko, is a local artist who specializes in large-scale aerosol murals with over 15 years of experience. With an extensive background in street art and well versed in graffiti, his work can be seen in many businesses and community centers in Louisville. Raising a son alone, he is fully committed to two things, his family and his art, leading to major accomplishments such as many publications and a solo display at the coveted Speed Art Museum twice. You may catch him live painting murals at a music festival or Kentucky Derby event. You may also have taken a picture in front of one of his works on display at the David Armstrong Extreme Park, or the famous “There’s LOVE in LOuisVillE ‘’ mural on the side of Sweet Peaches restaurant downtown. Some local attractions you also may see would be RecBar 812 and La Catrina in New Albany. Braylyn hopes to use his fine arts and graffiti background as a platform to pay homage to all forms of art in the public eye. He combines graffiti and abstract/Impressionism elements while solely using aerosol, creating colorful and wildly expressive works on a massive scale. Follow his work on Instagram @reskotattoo or @resko_cma.

What is your artistic medium? Can you describe your process and if there’s a subject matter you typically depict?

My artistic medium would be aerosol and acrylic paint. I like to create vibrant pieces incorporating abstract elements as well as graffiti. My process comes from purely feeling the medium and what it creates. From uncomfortable platters to razor crisp lines, there’s a mix to bring the medium to life.

Tell us some background on you and how you became an artist.

I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember. My passion for seeing art and how it enriches the lives of people in general deepened my interest in art, especially large-scale murals. I attended DuPont Manual High School in the Visual Arts Program where I learned about every artistic medium.

What is your involvement in the local artistic community?

My involvement in the local art community has taken shape as a teacher to youths and I have been using my talents to bring out the live art aspect to the public.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

My advice for aspiring artists is to focus on your skill and draw inspiration from life versus what has already been done. Be original, take chances and create from the heart. Let your work stand for itself. People like originality and someone they can relate to. So when they buy your art, they are buying a part of your personality. Never forget that. 

What’s the best way for patrons to celebrate the artists in our community?

To me, the best way to patronize an artist is to encourage your city council to embrace art and especially public art. Murals transform communities in a more positive way. Contribute by donations to local art funds and purchase art from artists above all. We spend our hard-earned money on supplies to create what speaks from our hearts. I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the years on both sides of the river.